HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Health » Mental Health Support (Group) » My story, an introduction...

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 02:58 AM

My story, an introduction message

I just read the post regarding the purpose of this group, and I elect to tell others about my journey through hell and back in the hope that someone gets hope, or at least can recognize themselves in my experiences. I am currently writing a book about my experience with mental illness and, yes, there are tons of them out there. I don't need to have a best seller, and the process may be nothing but therapeutic towards helping me in understanding myself. If so, that's more than enough.

Moderators: if anything I've said here may be seen as counterproductive, please hide it, but please give me a chance to edit. Thanks!

I've known I've had depression since I was probably twelve years old. A couple of decades have gone by since then; at the time, I was mortified someone would find out. I grew up in the south, and everyone used to talk about the state-run "insane asylum," and recall being told that if I wasn't "good" in school, church, home, etc., someone could sentence me to go there. Of course none of them knew what I knew, and when other kids were told the same thing, they just laughed. I was petrified.

So, you might say there was some stigma attached to the idea of being less than "right" up there.

As time has passed, I'm sure my mother and her father suffered from the same illness and the same fear of treatment, and in fact I think knowing how they felt about it made me hypersensitive. Fortunately, we live in a (somewhat) more enlightened age.

When, at about 18 or 20, and still in the South, I made an appointment with the county mental health care office, I went to be interviewed. I think the woman had her own set of issues, honestly. Saying "damn" or "hell" obviously freaked her out. She finally told me what she'd obviously wanted to all alongó"just pray about it and god will fix it." I probably don't need to mention that my reliance on the state stopped right then and there. And, no, I wasn't as honest then as I am now, otherwise I'd have told her a few things. Anyway, by then I'd already been praying about it for years, as well as another issue*, with no response. Of course.

Should probably mention I grew up going to church Sunday, morning & night as well as sometimes during the week. I left that place as soon as possible, and moved on to other places, other opportunities, using each move to an unknown city as a chance to "start over."

For years, I got on just fine, most of the time, by throwing myself into my work, taking on more work than I should have so that I always had something churning in the back of my mind. I didn't realize why at the time, but it worked to my advantage: I could go to sleep with several problems in my head, and would very often awake with creative solutions, which of course helped my career. Yet, every time I was spotlighted for good work, etc., I felt ashamed. At one industry awards ceremony I had to stand before a huge audience to accept. I could feel heat coming off my face, knowing I didn't deserve any award for anything, and I just wanted to run and hide. Years, as they do, went by.

Finally, between the rigged Supreme Court election of 2000, a disastrous move to another city, the nation on Bush, the killing of the Twin Towers, Armed Forces at airports, eroding privacy, etc., just wore me down to a point where I couldn't function. Couldn't get out of bed for hours at a time. I would literally have to envision every step of getting up--every muscular movement, no matter how small, to even raise myself up in bed, much less to get up, shower, make coffee, etc. It was thoroughly exhausting, and while I knew it made no sense, obviously, I was somehow paralyzed and unable to move.

The phone would ring, and I couldn't answer it. I could hear my friends, clients, family talking into the answering machine. Sometimes this went on for days at a time. Yet I was powerless. Sometimes I could force myself out of bed if I had to pee real bad. Sometimes not. Finally, I somehow summoned up the wherewithal to get to a doctor and got put on meds.

I can recall lying in bed, trying to sleep, but my brain just kept on going and going, like a needle or data sensor on a blank disk, searching for something, anything, to occupy it. I can only assume this is why I had earlier been able to take on complex problems and solve them, literally, in my sleep. I confess I did self medicate with LOTS of alcohol, just to shut my brain down, hoping to reboot. I literally felt like I was walking chest-deep in cold lead that had been formed around me.

Most of my clients left me due to my inability to respond quickly and churn out professional work. Yet, even though I was able to get free meds through The City's program, I paid for them myself, more often than not, figuring, rightly, that others needed help as much as or more than me, and I could afford it, for awhile, anyway.

I had what my doctor called "suicidal ideation," in that I wanted to not exist but couldn't do anything about it. Glad I didn't, in retrospect!

I was diagnosed ten years ago next week, and finally feel as though my self-confidence is back. Of course, starting treatment with meds was a very long and wrenching process: Lexapro, which took months to sorta work, in that I could finally consciously notice colors and flowers; then Celexa, which was Lexapro repackaged so they could retain a patent. And a couple of other drugs that didn't work or made me nearly psychotic. One drug, may have been an old antidepressant now used as a sleeping med, gave me incredible, mostly wonderful dreams. Nothing too unusual if you find the idea of washers and dryers growing from giant plants unremarkable!

I finally got on the drug regimen I'm on now just over four years ago, and the heavy dark fog started going away. Went to group therapy all that time with no real success, but made some wonderful friends. It was obvious to my dr it was a chemical imbalance, in my case.

Of course, your mileage may vary.

Anyone who may wish to DUmail me for details or just to chat, feel free.


*Oh yeah, I almost forgot. That other thing I prayed so damn hard about? I'm gay. If anyone has a problem with that, it's your problem, so enjoy it, by all means.

24 replies, 5437 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply My story, an introduction message (Original post)
xfundy Jan 2012 OP
MindMover Jan 2012 #1
xfundy Jan 2012 #3
Tobin S. Jan 2012 #2
xfundy Jan 2012 #4
Tobin S. Jan 2012 #13
xfundy Jan 2012 #17
mdmc Jan 2012 #6
Tobin S. Jan 2012 #12
mdmc Jan 2012 #14
mdmc Jan 2012 #5
xfundy Jan 2012 #8
mdmc Jan 2012 #15
xfundy Jan 2012 #18
mdmc Jan 2012 #22
xfundy Jan 2012 #23
mdmc Jan 2012 #24
fizzgig Jan 2012 #7
xfundy Jan 2012 #9
BeHereNow Jan 2012 #10
xfundy Jan 2012 #11
BeHereNow Jan 2012 #16
xfundy Jan 2012 #19
BeHereNow Jan 2012 #20
xfundy Jan 2012 #21

Response to xfundy (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 03:44 AM

1. Thank you for sharing your story about hope and change......

and thank you for your efforts to continue to struggle to be more balanced and eventually functional.....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 05:57 AM

3. Thanks!

I was so hopeless for so long, I thought I'd never overcome the depression. I can't stress strongly enough the importance of getting help from a mental health professional and not trying to avoid it, living in Hell as I did for so many years.

Life is beautiful, sometimes it sucks, but, well, that's life.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 05:36 AM

2. Hey xfundy

Thanks for sharing your story here. It's always good to hear of a success story. I think it gives people hope. I've got to run now, but I'll try to get back in here later today to give a more detailed response.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Tobin S. (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 06:04 AM

4. Looking forward to it.

Someone DUmailed me earlier tonight and, like me, the writer wanted to avoid meds, but after reading my story is reconsidering.

It feels so good to know you've helped someone, even through talking about things they often can't talk to friends or family about due to the massive ignorance that still surrounds us.

Anyone can feel free to DUmail me anytime.

No matter how dark it gets, there's hope, and it does get better. I know that for a fact.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 06:50 PM

13. Yep, things can can better. I know that for sure.

And I'm trying to keep that in mind tonight because I have the blues. A bunch of bad stuff happened to me and my wife in the past couple of months. It's all just life. Everything that has happened has been pretty much out of our control. It would be easier to handle if things all didn't happen at once. It kind of makes you wonder if you're getting punished for something, but I know that's not true.

But I know how bad things can get, and now days my worst days seem like bliss compared to what I went through with severe mental illness. Your story and my story are similar in some ways. I was raised going to a fundy church, too. I busted out of that when I was 16, but the anxiety and stress it caused lasted a long time after that. When I was 20, bipolar disorder blossomed in my brain like a carnivorous plant. I lived in pain, darkness, and confusion for the next ten years. But I finally started to get the right treatment and everything has been a lot better since then.

But all of that pain and suffering has scarred me, and when bad fortune strikes it throws me a little more than it probably would most people. But I'm going to get through alright and your OP reminded me of that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Tobin S. (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 11:36 PM

17. Sounds like a tough time.

And the shit seems to hit the fan in huge elephant-sized loads. My empathy, and sympathy.

I can understand your wariness, especially in these times. Life in general has sucked for most of us since the GWBush Error, and ten-plus years of ongoing bad news can really wear a guy out. You realize god/FSM's not holding a magnifying glass on you as a child will do to an ant (though that IS the fundies' version of god).

I sometimes wonder if I should go a little easier on teabaggers, FReaks, etc., as some of them undoubtedly grew up with the FEAR of god. I think most claim religion merely as something they can use to hate others, and how do modern 'christians' prove how Godly they are without hating everyone god hates? No one can tell if anyone's really a Christian. There are several of that type in my own family: hateful, racist, backward, intentionally ignorant Fox Noise viewers. On second thought, fuck them.

One sunday morning, I, a young teenager, sat in the last row with a buddy I'd met weeks earlier in the other back row, and the preacher looked right at me with piercing eyes, saying "Young man! Young man! Come up here and give yer heart to Jayssssusssss!" (Not intended to insult anyone, just phonetic illustration). I knew he was talking to me, as did several others, obviously. Regardless, I turned around and looked to see what horrible sinner the preacher-man was talking to, as everyone else in the church had turned around to watch the miracle of the prodigal heathen boy! I just kept looking around and even sort of pointed to another kid.

All things must pass, good and bad, nothing is forever. I have to remind myself of that on occasion when I also feel like negatives are piling up on top of me.

Bestest.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Tobin S. (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 09:36 AM

6. Glad to see you here Tobin

 

I wanted to offer my condolences for Vito.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mdmc (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 06:33 PM

12. Thank you very much

Vito has got me thinking about afterlifes and stuff. I think I'm going to post over in the religion forum here in a bit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Tobin S. (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 07:57 PM

14. nice

 

I posted a thread a day after you did in the lounge. My bella met up with vito on Sunday..

I think a little "vitamin c" (Ned Flanders nickname for Church) might do me good as well.

You know I'm Catholic, but I think of myself as a Dharma Catholic, or Buddhist.

My avatar on DU is Christ, because I think of him as an ideal liberal leader.

Didn't mean to hijack the thread.. just wanted you to know that people were thinking of you and all that..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 09:18 AM

5. walking chest deep in cold lead

 

damn, I know that feel. That is a great descriptor xfundy. Thanks for posting and please check in daily..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mdmc (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 04:22 PM

8. Isn't it?

It's truly a horrible feeling. Another image I had was that if I was to be picked up like a pencil and broken in half, I would be black and sticky/oily on the inside. I'm not proud of saying that, and hope no one finds it bothersome, but it's exactly the way I felt at the time.

But the best part of the whole mess is coming through the other side of it. Of course it's an ongoing process for me, but it can be done.

Honestly, until it happened to me, I'd bought into the cultural lie that people who were clinically depressed were just lazy (!) or self-absorbed. Of course, now I know the truth, and am mad that we are still looked upon as (insert negative description here) and am determined to do something about the ignorance; it can happen to anyone.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 08:02 PM

15. keep in touch

 

We got a good group here - lets keep building..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mdmc (Reply #15)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 11:42 PM

18. I can tell that already.

A big part of the reason I joined is that everyone needs some encouraging words sometimes, myself included. I haven't had one of the dark days in some time, but when they come back, I'll be here, wanting to talk with someone who knows how it feels. Winter is always very, very bad for me (SAD) but once I see the hyacinths and jonquils coming up I feel hope.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 07:34 AM

22. question about SAD

 

this year in the Northeast it has been warm with very little snow. It is the same where you live? Does the lack of cold improve your symptoms or does the short days still kick your butt?

I have RA (arthritis) and SAD. This year hasn't been so bad for me, but I have chronic pain due to the extreme cold. This year has been warm, so my SAD ain't as bad..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to mdmc (Reply #22)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 06:04 PM

23. It's better this year, so far.

It's been warmer this winter, so far, but the short days still bum me out. Gray days, nothing much growing, garden is dead, bleah.

I start feeling bad around the end of October, then Thanksgiving means family obligations, which I really don't like, then Xmas which I really REALLY don't like. It was that way for years and years, even before the Darkness. Being around immediate and extended family during the holidays had always been difficult for me, even as a child. I never felt like I fit in, but never really noticed a pattern of SAD until after the depression diagnosis. Also got diagnosed with anxiety/panic disorder after the initial diagnosis. I'll try to write a little about that today in the new thread I started.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 07:32 PM

24. thanks for the reply

 

peace and low stress

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 02:48 PM

7. thank you for sharing your story

we all need hope that it does get better

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to fizzgig (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 04:24 PM

9. It does!

I wonder if there's a lesson in Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project--wonder whether us, telling our stories on youtube, would help others?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 04:28 PM

10. Great introduction!

No matter how many times I hear the stories, they
always help me feel better- I guess it is knowing that
I am not alone and there are others who know the road
and keep fighting to feel better.
So thank you for making my day better!
I'm glad you are here-
BHN

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BeHereNow (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 05:21 PM

11. Thank you.

I felt very alone, partly due to isolation, partly due to the fact that I didn't know of anyone who'd gone through it. Hopefully, those who still suffer can find comfort in knowing someone has gone through the same drain they feel they're going down.

I have lots of recollections about how I felt, what I saw in dreams (not getting woo-woo here--some meds gave me awesome dreams), positive and negative effects of meds, ways I found to get by, etc. Should I post excerpts of what I'm working on in my attempts to create a book?

I know that when I had it really bad I resented people who were "cheery" oró the worstówould just assume they knew exactly what I was going through; in fact, I lost a longtime friend* when his wife, who I'd genuinely liked, assumed she knew all about it and how silly I was to not "snap out of it!" Bitch.

Her reasoning? "Oh, I know just how it is. I contemplated suicide when I was a teenager. You just need to pick yourself up, and get over it and ..."

I finally told her that since she knew all about what everyone is going through that her time would be better spent telling cancer patients to "just get over it." "Come on, it's just cancer! Big deal! Get a new attitude!"

* A bit more to that story: they turned out to be teabaggers, and my old friend, whose mother's a lesbian, yelled something at me about "gay 'so-called rights'" and "'n*ggers' have it easier than" him, even with his two homes, boats, $2K+ bicycles, etc.

PS: Anyway, feel free to DUMail me if you need to talk. No judgement.

Bestest.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 10:45 PM

16. Thanks-I will mail you if I need to, and yes you should share you book with us!

I'm sure reading passages of what you are working on
could be very cathartic for our group!
I say "go for it!"
BHN

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BeHereNow (Reply #16)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 11:44 PM

19. OK, thanks

Would it be better if I put excerpts/recollections I'm working on in a new thread, or just confine them to one?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xfundy (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 03:29 AM

20. Why not start a new thread expressly for your writing?

Then folks could follow it and give you feedback!
I know everyone here will be supportive of your efforts.
There is also the "Journal" feature on DU that might be cool to utilize-
BHN

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BeHereNow (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 04:51 AM

21. OK, i'll start a new thread tomorrow.

Thanks.

I have to tell you, though, some parts are rather dark, not nearly as carefree and fun as the stuff I've told about so far.

In my time here, I've never been in a forum till a couple days ago, and haven't been one to go back to check on a post, so there's a little learning curve I'll have to jump.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread